Cumbria Crack

Theatre by the Lake to be a partner venue for 2020’s National Theatre Connections

Theatre by the Lake. Photo by Tom Kay.

Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake is to be a partner venue for 2020’s National Theatre Connections festival which takes place from 17 to 19 March. The theatre will be welcoming Kirkgate Youth Theatre, Theatre Royal Youth (Workington), Youth Arts Centre (Isle of Man), Brewery Youth Theatre and Story Makers from Blackburn to perform at Theatre by the Lake, alongside TBTL’s own Young Company.

The six youth theatres will each perform a play, with two youth theatres performing each night, as part of National Theatre Connections – a nationwide celebration of new plays for young people.

Ten brand new plays were written especially for Connections by a selection of the best playwriting talent in the UK. Each participating youth theatre then chose which play to rehearse and perform in the festival. The plays being performed at Theatre by the Lake are: The IT by Vivienne Franzmann, Tuesday by Alison Carr, Dungeness by Chris Thompson, A Series of Public Apologies by John Donnelly and Crusaders by Frances Poet.

Liz Stevenson, Artistic Director of Theatre by the Lake, said: “We are so excited to be a partner venue for this wonderful festival and celebration of young people’s creativity, and can’t wait to welcome the participating youth theatres to TBTL. We are also very grateful to have received an enhancement fund from the National Theatre to enable us to really make this as accessible as possible, as well as a brilliant experience for all the groups involved.”

The enhancement fund allocated by NT Connections to Theatre by the Lake is going towards workshops for each group, subsidised tickets (including groups who are interested in learning more about NT Connections), and transport and food costs.

National Theatre Connections is one of the UK’s largest celebrations of youth theatre. Plays are commissioned for and about young people, from some of the best contemporary playwrights, and performed by schools and youth theatres all over the UK and Ireland. Young people have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of creating and staging the play both on and offstage, from set design to costume, lighting and stage management.

In 2020, National Theatre Connections is working with up to 300 youth theatres and schools to stage ten newly commissioned plays, adding to the 150 + plays the National Theatre have commissioned for young people since 1995. All the companies will transfer their production to one of 31 Connections Partner Theatres across the UK (including Theatre by the Lake).
Kirsten Adam, Connections Producer, said: “We have loved having Theatre by the Lake as a Connections Partner Theatre this year, and the team have done a brilliant job of reaching out to new schools and youth theatres in Cumbria. We are really looking forward to continuing to work with them, and getting more companies in the region involved in the work of Connections.”

To book to see the groups perform at the festival contact the Theatre by the Lake Box Office on 017687 74411 or visit the website at

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